San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer joined his counterparts from other large California cities Wednesday, calling on the state to approve millions of dollars to address the homelessness crisis during, and beyond, the coronavirus pandemic.
In an online conference, members of the Big City Mayors coalition backed Gov. Gavin Newsom's proposal to earmark $600 million in federal CARES Act funding for homelessness solutions such as purchasing hotels and motels. They also urged legislators to approve $350 million in "flexible" funds for other intervention strategies to ensure homeless people who are moved into shelters or hotels under the state's Project Roomkey program during the pandemic don't wind up back on the streets.
"We've all been working during this crisis and during the pandemic to get folks off the street primarily for health and safety reasons," Faulconer said. "But as we look toward the future, how do we actually provide that?
"Here in San Diego we've opened up our convention center, and we have over 1,400 folks that we've been able to get safely off the streets from our bridge shelters to allow for social distancing," he said. "It's been a tremendous success so far. But as we are looking to getting on the other side of this pandemic, what we are all focused on is having both the resources and the ability and the places to give folks that permanent home. That's why these dollars are going to be so important. Not only the dollars for hotel acquisition but the flexible dollars for supportive services, because we are all interested in the long term."